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Beware

Not much news today, and since I haven’t talked much about the films I’ve seen lately, this would be a good place to start.

Thanks to the Netflix streaming “Watch Now” option, I managed to check out the Japanese film “Who’s Camus Anyway?” It’s so hard to find that it’s not even available on Japanese DVD (If anyone can find one, great, but I looked through Yesasia and CDJapan and found nothing, but you can find the American DVD easily). Anyway, it’s a comedy-drama chronicling a week before the shoot of a student film. The ambitious 9-minute opening shot, which whips through a real Japanese college campus (I believe it’s Rikkyo University) introduces all the major characters - the promiscuous director, his conflicted assistant director, the new lead, the widowed professor, and members of the crew that love to talk about opening shots.

Inserting references to Camus, Death in Venice, Tarantino, and who knows how many more, you don’t exactly need to understand what the film is really about to “get” Who’s Camus Anyway. Confidently written and directed by Mitsuo Yanagimachi (I honestly thought a much younger director made this), anyone remotely interested in filmmaking would find the film interesting at just how tedious the whole process can be. Egos collide, romantic entanglements ensue, and someone’s eventually going to get hurt. Of course, those who aren’t interested might be wondering why art students are so in love with themselves, but as one of them, I can just say that’s the way it is.

It’s not much of a review, but call this a recommendation: Who’s Camus Anyway is well-written and directed enough to be entertaining, even when you can’t quite pick up every layer of the story.

- They’ve done it before, and now they’re doing it again. After the Weinsteins infamously gave up their rights to Chen Kaige’s stinker The Promise (sadly, rightfully so too), they decided to give up the outside-Asia/UK worldwide rights they got for Ong Bak 2 a year ago, except they’ll still hold North America rights. So good news: Weinstein no longer in charge of Western distribution of Ong Bak 2. Bad News: They’re still in charge of it in America.

- Looks like Hollywood is singing the tune “blame Canada” these days after Warner Bros. found that 70% of the camera-recorded pirated versions of their films come from Canada. Since then, Warner Bros. have canceled all advanced screenings of their films, and 20th Century Fox is contemplating delaying releases for major films in Canada. Believe it or not, since Canada has no laws banning recording films in cinemas, it’s now one of the major piracy nations in the world.

- On the other hand, Warner Bros. have secured a video-on-demand program deal in Hong Kong, which may or may not help combat piracy. Now let’s see whether they can make it accessible enough for people to actually take advantage of it.

- Speaking of Hong Kong and piracy, Hongkie Town reviews two reports of the same trial - the appeals hearing of the first person to be convicted of uploading films using Bittorrent. I’ll have to say, though, that the defense is really stretching why this guy might be innocent.

- Speaking of internet behavior, bloggers and forum posters beware - Your hyperlinks can get you in trouble with the law.

- I can’t believe I paid 35 bucks for this. I originally didn’t think that Ken Watanabe’s “Memories of Tomorrow” would actually get anywhere beyond Japan. Character dramas, especially those not produced by the big three - Toho, Shochiku, and Toei, don’t usually see their day outside the region. So I bought the English-subtitle-less Japanese DVD for my mother when I was in Japan, and I hoped that I can understand at least 50% of it with the subtitles on. Then they released it in Hong Kong, and now they’re even releasing it in America theatrically, thanks to Watanabe’s star power. I should be thankful that a film like this got international distribution, but what took them so damn long?

- I knew it was a pretty big hit, but who would’ve guessed that Gegege No Kitaro would actually be breaking box office records? That’s right, the film’s first full week take just over 1 billion yen is actually a record for distributor Shochiku.

- The first trailer for Benny Chan’s Invisible Targets is up, and wow. It’s not a very long clip, but it has a lot of crap blowing up, people jumping off stuff, and even has Nicholas Tse getting hit by a bus. It’ll probably have a crappy story with overacting everywhere, but this looks like a pretty promising action flick.

- Just when you think it’s out, they pull ‘em back in. After the so-so Terminator 3 promised to take the franchise to a brand-new level while also providing a satisfying yet grim end to the series, another private firm has bought the rights, intending to continue the franchise. Shall we file this under “bad idea”………

- Lastly, Korea Pop Wars looked at the Korean Film Council’s Korean film history book for you, and Mark lets you know whether you should read it or not.

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